Genesis 10:1-20

April 18, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Now these are the records of the generations of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah; and sons were born to them after the flood. The sons of Japheth were Gomer and Magog and Madai and Javan and Tubal and Meshech and Tiras. The sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz and Riphath and Togarmah. The sons of Javan were Elishah and Tarshish, Kittim and Dodanim. these the coastlands of the nations were separated into their lands, every one according to his language, according to their families, into their nations. sons of Ham were Cush and Mizraim and Put and Canaan. The sons of Cush were Seba and Havilah and Sabtah and Raamah and Sabteca; and the sons of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan. Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD.” The beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city. Mizraim became the father of Ludim and Anamim and Lehabim and Naphtuhim  and Pathrusim and Casluhim (from which came the Philistines) and Caphtorim. Canaan became the father of Sidon, his firstborn, and Heth and the Jebusite and the Amorite and the Girgashite and the Hivite and the Arkite and the Sinite and the Arvadite and the Zemarite and the Hamathite; and afterward the families of the Canaanite were spread abroad. The territory of the Canaanite extended from Sidon as you go toward Gerar, as far as Gaza; as you go toward Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha. These are the sons of Ham, according to their families, according to their languages, by their lands, by their nations. Continue Reading Genesis 10:1-20…

What makes something Christian?

May 17, 2010 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I have been in a few discussions lately that have completely boggled my mind. While I will readily admit that this isn’t hard to do, it didn’t happen because the depth of the discussion went over my head or because the words being used were too big. This happened basically because of some of the things that self-proclaimed “Christians” said during the discussion. The discussions took place on a page set up for a Christian radio station. If you’ve read my blog on Contemporary Christian Music, then you already know that this discussion didn’t start out good. The main topic of discussion revolved around the recent return to music of Jennifer Knapp.  For those of you that may not know, Jennifer Knapp, a Christian artist who decided to take a 7-year hiatus from music, has made her return to the music scene. Unfortunately, she isn’t the same person she once was. Ms. Knapp has made it known to the entire world that she is a lesbian and has been in a homosexual relationship for a few years now.

This announcement sparked a bit of a dialogue on the radio station’s page. There were questions as to whether or not the station should or would play her music anymore. This is where my adventure began. To me, this is a no brainer. Ms. Knapp, while possibly singing about God before, is no longer living a lifestyle that glorifies God. Because of this, the radio station should no longer play her music. If they did, it would look like the radio station was supporting her lifestyle and could confuse new Christians or mislead people into thinking that homosexuality is supported by the church. Then the discussions began.

A few people started posting how much they loved Ms. Knapp and her music and how “uplifting” it was. They talked about how Christian music isn’t about how many times a song mentions God or Jesus, instead it’s about “the deep emotions, the struggle, the quest to find God, live in God’s word, worship God, and be at peace”. Many of the participants overlooked her sin (because we’ve all sinned) and instead focused on the gift that God has given her and how she should be able to use it for His glory. People were upset that some would “judge” her or her lifestyle because we’re not supposed to do that. Others equated anything said against her as “hate”. They said that we need to “build her up” instead of “tearing her down”.  Others said that pastors, teachers, singers, and preachers should not be held to a higher standard than the rest of us because they face the same temptations that we do (even though it says that they are held to a higher standard by God…). The only time scripture was used in the discussion was when people wanted to remind others that we shouldn’t judge or “throw stones”.  There were even comments about how “one religion is no better than another “and how “all opinions should be respected”…on a CHRISTIAN music station’s page!

All of this got me mad, and then it got me thinking about some things. First, it made me sad that so few Christians seem to have an understanding of even the most basic of Christian doctrines. What exactly is being taught today in the church? Second, it made me think about what makes something Christian? What is it that determines whether or not something is Christian? Today, in churches, on Christian discussion boards, and all over the place, there are people talking about things being Christian; but what makes it Christian. Is it Christian because we decide that it is? What happens if we decide five years from now that it’s no longer Christian, does that mean that it’s not? Should we go by our feelings to determine if something is Christian? What if our feelings change? Is it not Christian anymore? Is the Christian faith built upon such a wishy-washy, flimsy foundation as whims or feelings? NO!

What makes something Christian has nothing to do with how we feel about it, or whether we like it, or even agree with it or not. Something is Christian because God said it is. Please stop and read that again. If something is Christian, it is because God said it is. Here’s what I mean. God Himself has determined what Christianity looks like. Jesus is the complete and perfect embodiment of Christianity. If something claims to be Christian and doesn’t match that embodiment, then it’s not Christian; no matter how strongly we desire it to be otherwise. This goes for people, doctrines, teaching, and everything else. Man has somehow gotten it into his head (I think this first happened in the garden) that he can come to God however he desires and God will be ok with it. He can live his life the way that he wants and give God lip service and things will be just fine. It has become so bad that some “churches” believe that a person can follow the doctrines of Buddhism, Hinduism, Mormonism, or even atheism and still be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. As long as they follow the tenets of their chosen religious system, they are good to go.

Man has been trying this ever since the beginning and it has never worked. God has ordained specific ways that He wants things done and they are to be done that way or they are wrong. In the book of Genesis, God told Adam and Eve that they could eat of any tree in the garden but one. God even told them what would happen to them if they disobeyed. In chapter 3 we see Eve and Adam both thinking that they could disobey God without consequence. They ate the fruit, and they ushered death into the world.  In Leviticus 10, Nadab and Abihu were killed on the spot for offering strange fire. God had laid out for them a specific way that they were to offer incense to Him and when they didn’t do it the way He prescribed, God killed them. In Numbers 20, the people were grumbling about not having water to drink. Moses went to God to seek guidance for what he should do. God told Moses to speak to the rock at Horeb and it would bring forth water. Moses gathered Israel together and then took the rod and struck the rock twice. Because they disobeyed God, both Moses and Aaron were unable to enter the Promised Land. Numerous times in the Old Testament Israel followed after other gods instead of remaining true to the one true God. Because of their disobedience, God punished them with famine, plague, invasion from other countries, and even captivity.

As I said above, God is the one who defines Christianity (not man) and He has chosen to do so through His Son Jesus. God has determined that for someone to be born again, they need to repent of their sins and put their faith in Christ alone for salvation. He has determined that Christians are not to condone sin, immorality, or impurity. They are not to look or act like the world but should be more and more like Christ. They are to be making disciples and preaching the true gospel. They are to be teaching others to observe exactly what Jesus commanded us. Unfortunately, the church tries to imitate the world in a horrible effort to try and lure non-Christians in to church. They seem to think that those people will enjoy the worldliness of the “church” and will stay long enough to hear about Jesus (if they even hear about Him at all). When the non-Christians leave the church (and they will), it will be for one of two reasons. Either the church’s efforts to mimic the world are so bad that they can’t stand to sit there and watch; or, they have been deceived into “making a decision for Christ”, “accepting Jesus into their heart”, or “trying Jesus” and were let down when the promised better life didn’t come. Not only have they not been saved from sin and hell, they are now inoculated against the truth because of their experience.

The entire focus of the Bible revolves around one person…and it’s not you. Or me. It is Jesus. We are to pattern our lives after the scriptures that have been written down for us. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that ALL scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. The scriptures show us exactly how we are to live and not live. It shows us how we are to treat God, others, and even ourselves. It warns us of temptation, sin, pride, wrath, and hell. It encourages us to live lives that are worthy of the gospel. This and more come from scripture and scripture alone. And the church pushes that to the side in order to chase after hollow, “relevant”, worldly endeavors that will mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Until the church gets back to the biblical definition of Christianity, it will be filled with squishy, shallow, “feel-good” Christians who build idols of Christianity that suit them and their egos while offering no lasting hope or firm foundation.

Do they apply?

March 8, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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It seems that in the American church’s rush to appease the lost and the non believers (I was going to say pagans but that would probably offend someone), or their effort to bilk trusting, tested Christians of all the money they have by “sowing their seed”; the church has forgotten one of its greatest tools. Ok, I don’t think that they’ve forgotten it as much as they’ve tossed it aside for church growth plans and light-hearted, shallow events that bring people in based on their greed and have them leaving the same way (if they’re lucky). Now, any pastor can pick whatever they want to say and then go traipsing through the scriptures and cherry-pick whatever verses they want to support their “sermon”. To do this, of course, they have to twist the scriptures until they squeeze every last drop of life out of them; but the ends justifies the means even if the means completely destroys the foundation upon which the “sermon” should be built on.

This attitude bleeds to the flock of the “shepherd” over time until the entire group goes through the Bible picking out “life verses” and “claiming” specific verses as “theirs”. After awhile, the church is full of puffed up men and women who expect everything from God because they can string together a group of verses that have no real connection and then muster up their most faith filled voice to command Him to bring it to pass right now because they deserve it. Mix in the idea that we have to look blessed (whatever that looks like) and act blessed even if we don’t have two nickels to rub together and you’ve got a large portion of America’s churches.

So, what is this missing tool? What is the thing that would stop all of this nonsense? Hermeneutics. Continue Reading Do they apply?…

Is it not enough?

January 18, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Posted in Christianity | 2 Comments
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As I continue to hear about the church in America, I am struck by some things that I just don’t understand. I keep talking about the church “in America” because it looks different from the church outside the US. The problems that American churches face are nothing like the ones faced by the churches in other countries. While American churches worry about new “growth” methods and how to better entertain churchgoers, Christians in other countries are hiding in basements worshipping God with the single page of scripture that they’ve been able to smuggle with them. While American churches work on “branding strategies” and marketing efforts, Christians in other countries are dying just for naming the Name of Christ. Is it just me or is something out of whack here?

God has set aside His church to accomplish certain goals the way He wants them done. When the church fails to do this, they are in rebellion to God. I was reading in Numbers 16 this morning and it brought all this together. In Numbers 16 Korah, Dathan, and Abiram as well as 250 others go up before Moses and Aaron and express their anger and frustration. They accuse him of “exalting himself” as their leader when “all of the congregation is holy”. These men who accused Moses weren’t just any men though. They were men of renown, chosen from among the assembly. Korah was a son of Levi, the tribe who was set apart for service to the Lord as His portion. This wasn’t enough for them though. They wanted the same prestige that Moses had. They wanted the power that he had without the burden or the approval of the Lord. They felt that they should be just like the priesthood and decided to tell him boldly and arrogantly. They told Moses that he had “gone far enough” in exalting himself over the people.  Continue Reading Is it not enough?…

Looking ahead?

December 28, 2009 at 9:07 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Ok…Christmas is over and things are starting to settle down. It’ll be another week or so before the credit card bills become a priority and you’ve still got a couple of days before the big New Year’s celebration. What do most people do during this time? They begin to look ahead. For the next month or so, you’ll see ad after ad telling you that they have the very thing that you’re looking for to make the new year go your way. Wanna lose weight? There will be a dozen different new weight loss machines on the market before you can say “couch potato”. Want to better your finances? There are programs and companies that want to help you get you money woes under control (including the huge debt you just built up). Want to see your marriage change? There are books, CDs, and counselors waiting for you to pick them up, pop them in, or give them a call so that they can spend the next 30 days getting your relationship in the best shape its ever been. And, once you choose which of the myriad new eye dazzlers will garner your attention, you can spend a little time plotting your course with fervor and determination because you know that this is your year.

I can’t help but wonder if all of this is really necessary? What are the real motives behind much of this New Year’s barrage? Seems like it’s just one more way for someone to try and make money. Do the methods work? I’m sure for some people they do, but is it “sure-fire” for everyone like the ad copy says? I doubt it. I also can’t help but wonder if ahead is the direction that we need to pour all of this effort (even though it’s really only a few days). Looking over scripture, I see something different and I hope that it helps balance all of the new fad hype. Continue Reading Looking ahead?…

You go and then come back and tell us…

January 21, 2008 at 6:22 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Exo 19:9 The LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever.” Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD.

Exo 20:18 All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance.
Exo 20:19 Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.”
Exo 20:20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.”

In this part of scripture, God is preparing His chosen people for what’s to come. They have just come out of Egypt and have traveled to Mount Sinai. They are being readied to enter the land that God promised Abraham 430 years ago. Moses tells all of Israel to consecrate themselves and then brings them to the mountain to present them before the Lord. No one is allowed on the mountain except Moses and Aaron. The people see all of what is going on and they tremble and stand at a distance. Then they say something that is very telling:

“Moses, you speak and we’ll do whatever you tell us, but if God speaks to us, we’ll die” (paraphrasing). Continue Reading You go and then come back and tell us……


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